about Epidemiology & the department

Epidemiology academic information

Epidemiology faculty

Epidemilogy resources

sites of interest to Epidemiology professionals

Frerichs, R.R. AZT Trial Results

SEA-AIDS Network, February 20, 1998.

R.R. Frerichs Posting

The long-awaited announcement by CDC on the effectiveness of the short-course AZT treatment for preventing HIV transmission to the offspring was issued on February 18, and the results are good.

According to the CDC, the less expensive short course being evaluated in Thailand reduces the transmission by half . This is welcome news for those who could not afford the more expensive treatment being used in the United States and Europe, but have the same feelings of pain and sorrow, when watching their infected children die of AIDS.

Each low-cost improvement in therapy, whether for treating infected individuals or for preventing mother-to-child transmission, offers new hope for controlling the epidemic.

What Thailand and other higher prevalence countries will need to decide next, is how best to detect HIV infection in pregnant women so that young children can benefit from the knowledge.

Is it ethical for a mother in Thailand to avoid testing when doing so may endanger her child? Does the child have a right to treatment, or do Thai mothers, if they so desire, have a greater right to avoid testing?

These issues will need to be addressed soon, now that CDC has provided another means for prevention.